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 Post subject: New Yankee Stadium
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 8:24 pm 
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Yankees are moving ahead with plans to build a new stadium.

I believe Matthew said in an earlier thread that the main reason for the new stadium is to provide more skyboxes for the rich. It surprises me, then, that the plan to abandon the House that Ruth Built is not facing a shitstorm of opposition from fans. Does no one care?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 8:58 pm 
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I don't get it either. Maybe the fans believe George Steinbrenner doesn't care what other people think.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 9:15 pm 
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If Yankee Stadium is torn down, it would be easier for Tribune Co. to tear down the monstrosity that is Wrigley Field, a dismal place to watch a baseball game. I have no opinion on Yankee Stadium, but I would like to see a new ballpark built on the Wrigley site.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 9:29 pm 
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Phillip Blanchard wrote:
I have no opinion on Yankee Stadium, but I would like to see a new ballpark built on the Wrigley site.


Yes, it's been more than three weeks since White Sox-Cubs, and I'm only now beginning to get over the trauma to my vertebrae.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 10:22 pm 
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It is sort of strange that there hasn't been any community or media opposition to the new Yankee Stadium.

I think a large part of the reason for the lack of protest is that Steinbrenner is paying for the stadium itself with his own money, some $800 million worth. The city and state are paying for about $300 million worth of "infrastructure improvements," for such tasks as building a commuter railroad station near the stadium, relocating the subway platform, constructing parking garages (whose revenue will go entirely to the city and state) and reconfiguring the parkland that will be sacrificed for the new arena. The analyses I've read indicate that the infrastructure improvements will be paid for by the revenues from the garages over about a decade or so.

I think if there had been plans for a substantial chunk to have come out of the public's figurative pocket, Steinbrenner would have encountered a lot of trouble in the media and the community.

In fact, there has been such opposition voiced in the media when Steinbrenner has made previous "build-me-a-stadium-or-I'll-hightail-it-to-Jersey" noises, ever since 1990 or so. The spit almost really hit the fan in 2000, when Rudy Giuliani, on his way out the door in the role of Yankee mascot, threw Steinbrenner a big bonbon of a city- and state-financed ballpark on the order of the just rejected West Side Stadium in Manhattan. On the very land on which said stadium was to be built, in fact. The 9/11 attacks scuttled that obscenity, and Steinbrenner had enough of a sense of p.r. not to bring the issue to the surface again until the public had nearly reached its pre-9/11 complacency levels.

Which, as Wacko Jacko's hijacking of the front pages demonstrates, it clearly has.

Anybody ask Dubya where Osama is recently? Did he "schmoke 'em out" yet?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 10:48 pm 
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Is there some great grass-roots veneration for Yankee Stadium? I've never heard much of that. Certainly not like the Boston fans and their misty water-colored memories of the way Fenway were.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 11:26 pm 
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Wabberjocky wrote:
Is there some great grass-roots veneration for Yankee Stadium? I've never heard much of that. Certainly not like the Boston fans and their misty water-colored memories of the way Fenway were.


You mean veneration aside from Yankee Stadium's being the most famous venue in professional sports? No, I guess not.

Less flippantly, I don't know of any complaints that fans make about the Stadium. It is beloved by most Yankee fans, as far as I know, and maybe even by most baseball fans, for all I know.

Since the remodeling that took place from 1974 to 1976, there are no bad (obstructed-view) seats, even in the highest reaches of the upper deck. The seats are wide, and spaces between rows are generally large enough to accommodate modern humans. Bathrooms are about as plentiful as you would expect them to be in a stadium and are modern enough.

From what I understand, the Yanks' clubhouse is first class in terms of amenities and decor. Not much is written (that I've seen) about the visitors' clubhouse, but again, one doesn't read about teams complaining about it as they do about Fenway's cramped visitors' clubhouse.

There was an incident a few years ago now when a chunk of concrete fell from the upper deck of the Stadium onto a lower deck while the Stadium was empty. It was either well before game time or while the team was on the road; I forget which. That led to a chorus of calls to replace the stadium, but there haven't been any such incidents since. (Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I recall reading about a few such incidents of falling concrete at Wrigley recently--to the extent that the team strung mesh netting over the upper-deck seats to catch any wayward edifice material. I'm pretty sure it was Wrigley; anyone else recall reading about this?)

So, no, there's not a great hue and cry to replace the Stadium. I don't think it's necessary, and I do think a great big chunk of the romance of the game will be lost when the current park is closed. There is something very cool about knowing that today's players roam the same outfield Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, Maris and Jackson once roamed. Most of today's players express variations on that sentiment when asked what it's like to play at the Stadium. (Notable exception: Curt Schilling, who noted in 2001 that Aura and Mystique, which the media kept invoking as Yankee Stadium's intangible assets on the Yanks' march to a 27th championship, were "dancers in a nightclub." They sure were in the house in Games 4 and 5 that year, though, weren't they, Curt?)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 11:39 pm 
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I'm a Yankees fan who isn't particularly opposed to building a new stadium. I'll miss the House That Ruth Built abstractly, but I won't miss the narrow concourses, decaying walls or terrible concessions.

My objection is that the new stadium will apparently have fewer seats and more luxury boxes, as ADKbrown mentions. That's just rotten.


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 Post subject: More skyboxes?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 12:29 pm 
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This might sound silly, but I'd like to know more about the anti-skybox argument. Does it come up because some regular-seat buyers would be squeezed out of getting tickets -- primarily during the playoffs, since I presume the Yankees don't sell out most regular-season games? Or is it something else?

...Because up here in sellout city (with our antiquated facilities), that does sound kind of like the Yankee Way: cheering the expenditure of outrageous sums to buy other teams' good players, and then complaining about having to actually pay for them by raising more revenue.

(All in fun -- though if the new stadium gets built, I propose naming new skyboxes for Kevin Brown, Giambi, and A-Rod [at least].)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 12:36 pm 
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Does this mean they are going to dis-Mantle the old Yankee Stadium?

I had the honor of visiting Yankee Stadium last summer (wIth Wordy Gurdy, in fact), and it struck me that the fans were much more of a draw than the structure. I've never felt more comfortable with a baseball crowd. The love of the game was in the air.

Moving it across the street, or wherever, and keeping the same dimensions and most of the same amenities, indicates it can still have the feel of the classic Yankee Stadium. The explosion of luxury boxes is an ominous sign, of course. If they build essentially the same stadium but with modern conveniences across the street, will many folks really complain?

And let me be the one to rise to the defense of Wrigley Field. It's a great place to see a ballgame. C'mon, No. 1, nobody has pissed on your lawn in years; let's get over it. If you're delicate, bring a seat cushion. But to sit in that cozy ballpark, right there with the players, the lovely ivy-covered wall, surrounded on all sides by residential buildings, the flags flapping in the breeze coming in off the lake, the el train rumbling by -- that, my friends, is baseball. The fact that every game is sold out and the place is populated with annoying Cubs fans and Nazi-like security guards is a problem. The experience is usually unpleasant these days. The stadium itself is a gem.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 2:30 pm 
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I was wondering about that too -- does anyone else share No. 1's iconoclastic disdain for Wrigley Field?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 5:42 pm 
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More luxury boxes is fine. Six thousand fewer regular seats (as the design calls for) is bad.

The Yankees sell out many regular-season games against prime opponents. To substantially reduce the number of ordinary fans who can see those games while providing more luxury boxes for Steinbrenner's buddies is wrong. I don't see the need for luxury boxes, and what true baseball fan would want to watch a game from within one, anyway?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 10:21 pm 
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Two words to the defenders of Wrigley Field: obstructed view.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 10:36 pm 
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jjmoney62 wrote:
Does this mean they are going to dis-Mantle the old Yankee Stadium?

I had the honor of visiting Yankee Stadium last summer (wIth Wordy Gurdy, in fact), and it struck me that the fans were much more of a draw than the structure. I've never felt more comfortable with a baseball crowd. The love of the game was in the air.

Moving it across the street, or wherever, and keeping the same dimensions and most of the same amenities, indicates it can still have the feel of the classic Yankee Stadium. The explosion of luxury boxes is an ominous sign, of course. If they build essentially the same stadium but with modern conveniences across the street, will many folks really complain?

And let me be the one to rise to the defense of Wrigley Field. It's a great place to see a ballgame. C'mon, No. 1, nobody has pissed on your lawn in years; let's get over it. If you're delicate, bring a seat cushion. But to sit in that cozy ballpark, right there with the players, the lovely ivy-covered wall, surrounded on all sides by residential buildings, the flags flapping in the breeze coming in off the lake, the el train rumbling by -- that, my friends, is baseball. The fact that every game is sold out and the place is populated with annoying Cubs fans and Nazi-like security guards is a problem. The experience is usually unpleasant these days. The stadium itself is a gem.


JJ, that's a lovely lyrical description of Wrigley Field! Makes me want to book a flight now.

Some of the tentative plans for the current Yankee Stadium include holding Little League games and other youth-baseball tournaments there, but I believe it's going to be altered for that purpose. I don't know to what degree it's going to be altered. I think there are also plans for a museum to be built somewhere on the grounds.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 11:34 pm 
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PunkOnce wrote:
I was wondering about that too -- does anyone else share No. 1's iconoclastic disdain for Wrigley Field?


I do -- but only because the Cubs play there. Steve Bartman is the best fan they've had in a long time.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 9:27 am 
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(Said in a very small voice): It's worth pointing out that some fans -- those with physical challenges, for example -- are unable to watch games from regular stadium seats -- which, you have to admit, rival only coach-class airline seats in their extremely minimalist interpretation of "comfort." These fans can only watch live major league baseball from the relative luxury of a skybox on the occasions when box owners (such as companies) perform a charitable act and donate some space in them, which I can assure you does happen on occasion though perhaps not with an inspiring degree of regularity.

Anyway, the real solution to baseball stadium woes and ticket prices in general is a salary cap -- and yet whenever this issue is brought up for discussion (usually by team owners), my fellow baseball fans suddenly clutch their heads, wail loudly about "socialism," and find a truly amazing amount of common ground between themselves and unionized multimillionaires who employ entire staffs of agents, managers and publicists.

Now I might be the tiniest bit cynical on this topic so I'll omit my personal opinions -- but as long as Yankee fans love the free market so much that they continue to favor the raiding of other teams' talent via George S.' well-stocked piggy bank, then one could make a completely dispassionate and logical argument that the next Yankee Stadium should be all revenue-maximizing luxury boxes -- because that's what the people, deep down in their hearts, truly, really want.

(And I only cite the Yankees here because of the current stadium issue. Commodities trader John Henry's Red Sox generally have the MLB's second- or third-highest payroll, and would be just as motivated to maximize revs if their stadium situations were reversed.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 10:55 am 
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PunkOnce wrote:
Commodities trader John Henry's Red Sox generally have the MLB's second- or third-highest payroll, and would be just as motivated to maximize revs if their stadium situations were reversed.)


"Would be"? More like "is." Have you noticed how Fenway has come to resemble a NASCAR vehicle since Henry became the owner? And how the Red Sox have led the league (both leagues, I think) in ticket prices since he took over?

Granted, Fenway has the smallest capacity in the major leagues, and the money has to come from somewhere. Also granted that Red Sox fans don't seem to be complaining.

I have to give Henry a lot of credit for at least two innovations he's implemented since he came on the scene: Monster seats and right-field-roof seats. I have a good friend who lives outside of Boston with whom I go to see the Sox play at least once a year, and I hope to one day be able to get Monster seats.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 9:16 am 
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PunkOnce wrote:
(Said in a very small voice): It's worth pointing out that some fans -- those with physical challenges, for example -- are unable to watch games from regular stadium seats -- which, you have to admit, rival only coach-class airline seats in their extremely minimalist interpretation of "comfort." These fans can only watch live major league baseball from the relative luxury of a skybox on the occasions when box owners (such as companies) perform a charitable act and donate some space in them, which I can assure you does happen on occasion though perhaps not with an inspiring degree of regularity.


That's interesting. I wasn't aware it was a common practice. But don't a lot of stadiums have recessed-railing areas for wheelchairs to be parked? The ones at the current Yankee Stadium have pretty good views of the field, if my mind's eye is visualizing them properly.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 1:11 pm 
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I've never been to Yankee Stadium, but when buses carrying members of my Senior Little League from upstate New York got lost on the way to Shea Stadium, we ended up within blocks of Steinbrenner's playground.

At a stoplight we watched guys strip a car; they lifted a V-6 engine out of the metal carcass and carried it off.

This was in the early 1970s. I haven't been to that neighborhood since. How is it? I figured crime and parking problems or both would inspire the Yankees to go to another borough or even Jersey. I know how Manhattan and Brooklyn have changed; has The Bronx improved?

As for skyboxes: I can't imagine what they'll cost in New York. They can be tax writeoffs, I've been told; newspapers, for instance, use them mostly to wine and dine advertisers.
Twice I attended games in Baltimore in The Sun's skybox. People were as apt to watch college football inside on TV (during an ACES conference, when the publisher stopped by with his credit card and told me to give the waitress a $200 tip) or stay near the kitchen as to sit outside on a cold evening or in the hot afternoon sun to see the game.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 4:21 pm 
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Crime is way down throughout the city, though the Bronx remains the most crime-ridden borough.

I did read a story in the Daily News at some point in the last couple of years reporting that an entire week passed without any reports of gunshots in the Bronx. It was a much celebrated event.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 4:45 pm 
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Wayne Countryman wrote:
This was in the early 1970s. I haven't been to that neighborhood since. How is it? I figured crime and parking problems or both would inspire the Yankees to go to another borough or even Jersey. I know how Manhattan and Brooklyn have changed; has The Bronx improved?


To add a bit to Matthew's post: I can't say what it's like to live in that area of the South Bronx, but I can say that it is almost assuredly the safest place in the five boroughs on game days/nights. The police presence is strong and visible. I go to about 10 games a year via subway, and I've never felt unsafe. Granted, I'm not hanging out around the Stadium after the crowds have gone either.

In fact, I never felt unsafe from the early to mid '80s on, even when I drove into the Bronx for the games. (The parking garages can be a bit of a hike from the Stadium, and one of them is or used to be adjacent to the Bronx House of Detention or whatever the official name of the penal institution is. But even that walk was fun when done with fellow fans.)

But Governor George Pataki alluded to the Bronx's former reputation for mayhem when at the press conference to introduce the new Stadium plans the other day he reminded his audience how Howard Cosell, during a World Series game in '77 or '78, asked the director to focus on a car that was on fire a few blocks away from the Stadium. Cosell memorably intoned, "Ladies and gentlmen, the Bronx is burning." (Pataki was drawing a contrast to how much the Bronx has improved from those days.)

That phrase inspired the title of a new book by Jonathan Mahler, which is sitting in a queue on my nightstand. I hadn't known whence it came till I heard Pataki's anecdote.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2005 8:02 am 
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Wayne, if you're really interested, you might want to peruse this article for a recent assessment of the South Bronx's prospects. I don't know how legitimate the Real Deal site is, but the piece seemed reasoned enough.

I was kind of curious about the area's character myself, which was why I dug a little to find that piece.


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